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An End to Suffering

The Buddha in the World

Pankaj Mishra

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

An End to Suffering is a deeply original and provocative book about the Buddha's life and his influence throughout history, told in the form of the author's search to understand the Buddha's relevance in a world where class oppression and religious violence are rife, and where poverty and terrorism cast a long, constant shadow.

Mishra describes his restless journeys into India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among Islamists and the emerging Hindu middle class, looking for this most enigmatic of religious figures, exploring the myths and places of the Buddha's life, and discussing Western explorers' "discovery" of Buddhism in the nineteenth century. He also considers the impact of Buddhist ideas on such modern politicians as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

As he reflects on his travels and on his own past, Mishra shows how the Buddha wrestled with problems of personal identity, alienation, and suffering in his own, no less bewildering, times. In the process Mishra discovers the living meaning of the Buddha's teaching, in the world and for himself. The result is the most three-dimensional, convincing book on the Buddha that we have.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Invention of ‘Buddhism’

THE DAYS WERE SHORTENING with intimations of winter when I returned from the inner Himalayas to Mashobra. When spring came, and the roads cleared, I began to travel to the Spiti and Pin valleys. There, in the lonely cold deserts, speckled wherever the snow melted into streams with green oases of pea and barley fields, and watched over by hilltop monasteries of sun-baked bricks, I saw many more images of the Buddha. I visited Tabo, and found the oldest monastery in the region still full of lamas, as jaunty in their maroon robes as the prayer flags

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REVIEWS

Praise for An End to Suffering

Praise for The Romantics:

"A work of art, a first novel of the highest achievement [by] a writer whose work will last . . . Read it and find yourself at the source of something great." --Candida McWilliam, Financial Times

"This is a novel not to be missed . . . a brilliantly vivid, lucid debut." --Lexy Bloom, The Observer

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Pankaj Mishra

  • Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969 and now lives in London and India. He is the author of The Romantics, winner of the Los Angeles Times's Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Granta, and the Times Literary Supplement.
  • Pankaj Mishra Nina Subin
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Available Formats and Book Details

An End to Suffering

The Buddha in the World

Pankaj Mishra

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